How to reduce the risks and costs of UNIX applications running on traditional UNIX platforms

Migration of applications to newer platforms

Many corporate applications will more than adequately serve their organisation’s needs for many years to come. However the platform they are operating on is more than likely ageing, outdated and expensive to maintain.

The migration of legacy applications to more reliable platforms is an ongoing concern for organisations.  According to a recent survey by Gartner of corporate CIO’s, Legacy Modernization ranked among their top 10 technology and business priorities for 2012.

Migrating from UNIX using Symantec and Red Hat
Many “industry aware” C level managers are starting to consider the implications of the longevity issues surrounding traditional UNIX systems. In many cases, the applications themselves do what is needed by the business, and there is no need, driver or desire to retire the applications.

We have a migration pathway to help organisations to move  UNIX applications from expensive hardware and operating systems to newer, cheaper and readily available hardware (x86 architecture) and an up to date, well supported operating System  – Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

We can also move the applications into Fujitsu’s Cloud Services or enable the applications and servers to continue to run in either a Fujitsu Data Centre or the customers own Data Centre, whichever is preferred.

What is Red Hat Pathways?
Fujitsu’s Legacy Modernization program for migrating from UNIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux on x86 is based on the Red Hat Pathways methodology, created by our partner, Red Hat. To begin with, we conduct an “Application Value Assessment” workshop to learn about the client’s environment and desired outcomes.  From this workshop, we agree on suitable application(s) to migrate and using the Pathways methodology we provide the client with a ROI document suitable for use in a business case.

pathways diagram

Why Migrate From UNIX?
There needs to be a driver or business case for migrating applications from their traditional UNIX platform, most commonly these drivers include the requirement for better:

  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Maintainability
  • Manageability
  • Longevity

With any migration from one system to another, there is always an issue of production downtime during the final cutover period. Migrating large systems can lead to large periods of “read only” downtime which can sometimes be managed by cutting over during natural slow periods, but not always.

With its volume-based asynchronous replication buffer, Veritas Volume Replicator (VVR) can be configured for zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) replication over any distance. This configuration lets Fujitsu replicate asynchronously over IP to our Cloud, while synchronously mirroring outstanding data in the asynchronous replication buffer (using Fibre Channel or IP) to a nearby site.

Then when it is time to “go-live” into the Cloud, the application downtime is minimised to just the time necessary to drain the bunker Storage Replicator Log (SRL) which can be measured in minutes, rather than hours.

pathways diagram2









Can RHEL be deployed to a Cloud Platform?

pathways diagram3

If the application is cloud ready we will be able to move it to the Fujitsu local cloud, otherwise the client can stay on-premise or move to the Fujitsu Data Centre, thereby removing reliance on UNIX and its associated costs.

Where can we deliver and do we have proof points on RHEL?
Initially this is an Australian only service, but it will be going global in the near future. With Symantec’s VVR tool, we are able to move applications into the Fujitsu cloud no matter where the existing server is located, without the need for a large downtime. Red Hat Enterprise Edition Linux is being used all over the world in almost every industry

So to summarize….
The Fujitsu, Red Hat and Symantec partnership has the ability to quickly, painlessly and efficiently “lift and shift” those existing applications from UNIX platforms to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Cloud infrastructure with precision, control and a minimum of application downtime.

Leveraging investments in legacy applications

In today’s throwaway society we often assume that when something is a few years old we need to replace it with a new one. This is certainly the case for many technology items such as mobile phones and laptops where we replace them every few years with the latest technology. But in the case of large enterprise applications there is too much development time and effort invested to even think about replacement. Often the core business logic of the application is sound, but as time moves on improvements are needed to take advantage of new developments, to meet the current needs of a business.

So what do you do when your mission-critical enterprise applications need an update?

The question sounds like it is crying out for a nice long technical answer full of jargon and complicated diagrams.

But let’s first look at WHY you may need to update.

In our experience the main reason for considering the modernization or even migration of some of legacy applications is business enablement.  Of course there are times when a technology is at end of life in a mission critical application that the business case for modernization is strongly technical but we find that the following drivers are equally likely to drive the need for such a project:

Not cool enough for Gen Y
Generation Y needs to be considered. (people born between 1981 and 2000), a generation that has never experienced green screens until they are thrust into the work force find it very difficult to adapt to what they see are archaic systems. Training becomes more difficult, time consuming and expensive and the attrition rate may well suffer. Also employees talking about how old the systems seem to be in any public forum is going to be damaging to your brand. The obvious and fairly quick alternative is one of the excellent re-rendering tools on the market. Not only can they make your systems looks new, connect well to the internet but they can also combine many applications in to a single seamless superset (known as a mash-up). Continue reading